A World without Clutter

132 days without yelling, 233 days of loving more to go!

Dear Kitchen,

Oh how I love you when you are clean, when you are clutter free! When the only things by the sink are hand soap and dish soap. When the bread is in the bread drawer. When the kids school work is hung on the wall instead of in a pile waiting to be hung up.  When the craft supplies are in their cabinet AND in their proper container. When the day’s mail is in the mail basket. When the backpacks are hanging on their hooks. You get the idea. I love you when your counters have nothing on them but what belongs. Don’t feel bad, I like you well enough on the other days, but when you are truly clutter free? Oh you make my heart sing!!!

xoxo and PLEASE stay clutter free,
The Orange Rhino


I wrote the above blurb last week when I was torn between wanting to blog and wanting to organize, wanting to clean. I obviously chose cleaning since this never got posted! I started writing but quickly realized that my desire to blog as a means of staying yell-free was counterproductive because with a disorganized closet taunting me daily, it was just a matter of days before I lost it. If I didn’t clean, if I didn’t get the majority of my world clutter free soon, l would scream. I mean really scream. And not just at the air. I would scream at my kids.

I know it sounds silly to most. Even my dear husband doesn’t get it. My mom doesn’t get it. But the site of clutter literally makes me unhinged. I go berserk. Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme but at times clutter does make me feel overwhelmed. I start breathing heavy, I start getting antsy, I start feeling impatient. And inevitably if a “clutter attack” hits, I start snapping at my kids for no reason. And when a really bad “clutter attack” hits, like in the past, oh do I scream bloody murder.

I still vividly remember walking into the kitchen one morning not too long before the Orange Rhino Challenge and seeing piles of sh*t f all over the kitchen counter and the family room. Everywhere my eyes turned loose papers taunted me, primary colored toys taunted me, shoes taunted me. They all said “neener neener neener, we’re out of place, don’t you hate it….”(um, Yes!)

My son then innocently and ever so sweetly said “Mommy?” and I roared, I mean ROARED back at him “What do you want?!!” Understandably, he burst into tears.

“I just wanted to say good morning and give you a hug.”

Well, who was the pile of sh*t now?


I looked at my husband. Tears in my eyes. “Honey. Everywhere I turn is sh*t to be put away. It is never ending. I know I am supposed to let it go but I can’t. It reminds me of ALL I have to do and yet never get to. It reminds me of how chaotic my day is, how I am never caught up. It drives me nuts!!!”

“It’s okay,” he reassured me but really, it wasn’t. I wanted to scream some more. I wanted to grab garbage bags and fill them with all the piles of paper and out of place toys and then head to the dump.

But what I really wanted that morning, and EVERY MORNING, was not just a clean counter, but some order. Clean counters bring me calm. Clean closets bring me calm. Clean bedrooms bring me calm. Because they represent order. And right now with 4 boys under 5, I hardly have real order and I crave it. It keeps me grounded. It keeps me sane.

Ever since I made my resolution to spend a mere 5 to 10 minutes a night to pick up my clutter piles last week, I have felt that calm. And it. is. Awesome. Fabulous. Beyond amazing. Every morning when the boys and I come downstairs into the organized kitchen, I smile. I might be surrounded by four ravenous and screaming boys demanding milk and cereal and this and that, but my counters are clutter free and it brings me peace. And it keeps me from yelling and snapping. Seriously.

How do I know?

Because this past Saturday we had a wedding and I didn’t have 10 minutes to pick up before heading out. Then on Sunday we went away for Father’s Day and I still didn’t pick up. And this morning, once I finally unloaded all our stuff from yesterday and started to clean up I realized all the sh*t that had accumulated.

And I immediately became grumpy. I looked around and saw a world of “to-do”s of “to-put-aways” and I felt overwhelmed and inevitably I snapped. An acceptable snap per my rules, but still.

So today we have cleaned. And I feel better. And tonight I will get back to my resolution of just 5 to 10 minutes of picking up to stay on top of the problem. Why? Because it keeps me sane. It keeps me from yelling.

Every little bit counts. Such a cliché, and of course, so true. Every little bit of cleaning up keeps me that much more calm. And every little bit of more calm keeps me not yelling. And every little moment of not yelling, well, is a HUGE win.

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4 thoughts on “A World without Clutter

  1. Wow…I know exactly what you mean! Me and my two boys (3yrs and 7mos) live in essentially a one room apartment and the toys, shoes, books, clothes, my work stuff…ahhhhh! And even if everything is in its place it still drives me nuts necause half of it has a place in a pile somewhere because I just dont have the space! Yes…clutter is frustrating and has made me snap too. Thanks for sharing…I like you 5-10 min every night idea, I may do that.

    • Good luck Darlene. 5-10 minutes a night makes SUCH a difference. I was shocked 🙂 Welcome back from vacation btw!

  2. This is me to a tee. I love reading your posts because they often reflect some of my own issues and give me a different perspective/way of dealing with it. When my kitchen is messy, I am cranky. I like the idea of doing 10 minutes a night because that actually sounds manageable. 

    • Thanks for reading Linda! I am glad you enjoyed it. 10 minutes is manageable! I spent two saturday nights ago cleaning my kitchen, counters, inside cabients, for 4 hours. My problem was all the stuff on the counters didn’t have a home and my cabinets were full of stuff we didn’t need. Extra cleaning supplies moved to the garage and voila! lots more space. Now every night 10 minutes is easy and it makes me MUCH happier. My other rule of thumb is if I walk past something out of place I immediately pick it up – I didn’t used to. Good luck!

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